We’re never too old to make new friends—or to make a difference.
Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton, London, all her life but everything is changing.
The library where she used to work has closed. The family grocery store has become a trendy bar. And now the lido, an outdoor pool where she’s swam daily since its opening, is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. It was at the lido that Rosemary escaped the devastation of World War II; here she fell in love with her husband, George; here she found community during her marriage and since George’s death.
Twenty-something Kate Matthews has moved to Brixton and feels desperately alone. A once promising writer, she now covers forgettable stories for her local paper. That is, until she’s assigned to write about the lido’s closing. Soon Kate’s portrait of the pool focuses on a singular woman: Rosemary. And as Rosemary slowly opens up to Kate, both women are nourished and transformed in ways they never thought possible.
I was so unsure about picking this book up. It appealed to me at first because of the outdoor swimming theme, I love outdoor swimming myself. And then I had a customer in the bookshop I work in recommend it to me after a conversation about wild swimming, and knew I had to try it.
I finally decided to pick it up the other night, and let me tell you I was blown away. God, this book was amazing. I’m not used to reading adult contemporary and often find it hit and miss, but this one was just so delightful and heart-warming and was exactly what we all need right now. I picked it up one night intending to read a chapter and ended up reading around 50 pages. Every time I picked it up after that I felt so happy to be a part of this story.
‘Love is love,’ says Rosemary. ‘Just like a tree is a tree.
The characters in this book were beautiful. Kate was such a lovely soul with a warm heart and so many struggles. Seeing her blossom throughout this book felt like an honour. Rosemary was such a delightful, warm person to read about, and I joked with my boyfriend that I was so much like her, even though she was 86. I loved the way The Lido included flashbacks of Rosemary’s life with her husband and tackled some really difficult themes. The wider cast of characters were diverse and wonderful in their own ways.
The way Kate tackles her own mental health felt so raw and I really felt for her, especially some of the conversations she has with those around her on her journey. This book just radiated warmth and the heartfelt scenes often had me in tears, even only 150 pages in.
It can be a sapling or a hundred -year-old oak, but it still has roots and life and is at the mercy of the seasons.’
I can’t explain how much this book meant to me. It was full of hope and love and warmth, and was written from the heart. It absolutely warmed my soul, and I’m so happy I picked it up.
5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽